The Massachusetts Attorney General cracks down after a 7News investigation revealed local families were being left in the cold! All saying one home heating oil company was taking their money-but not delivering oil. Investigative reporter Hank Phillippi Ryan has the exclusive new details.
This woman–who didn’t want to be on camera told me she paid Action Oil of Oxford $3400 in advance for this winter's oil delivery. She came home one night–to find her furnace off–because her oil tank was empty! When she complained–she says the company STILL didn't deliver! Instead she says the owner cancelled her contract–and kept her money!
Victim: "I want my money back! I NEED my money back."
She was just one of the victims who complained to the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office—which is now taking “action” against the company.
The AG filed this complaint this week in Worcester Superior Court. It says the company’s owner, George Papageorge, “violated the state’s consumer protection law” by “enticing customers to enter prepaid unfair contracts for home heating oil and then continually failing to deliver.”
Martha Coakley, Massachusetts Attorney General: “Our allegations are that he has treated customers unfairly, that he has attempted to take advantage of them in ways we believe are against the law."
A judge granted this temporary restraining order — which “freezes” all of Action Oil’s bank accounts because the AG wants Pappageorge to pay back more than $37,000 in restitution to victims and $75,000 in civil penalties.
Martha Coakley, Massachusetts Attorney General: "We intend to pursue this aggressively and get restitution for consumers."
We tracked down owner George Papageorge—before the AG’s order to find out why outraged customers say he's left them out in the cold.
Hank: You have to admit you're not making good on your promises to deliver the oil.
George Papageorge, Action Oil: "I do agree, that I'm not making good on it. No."
But Papageorge told me he has so many customers–he has to juggle them by giving each one a little oil at a time.
Hank: “Do your customers know that's how it works? They expect their oil tank to be filled.”
George Papageorge, Action Oil: "I know that the expectation is such, but the world is full of expectation."
If you’ve had a problem with Action Oil, the Attorney General’s office wants to hear from you. Coakley’s office is also is helping victims find other sources of oil.
For more information, call their office at: 617-727-8400
Or file a complaint online: http://www.mass.gov/ago
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